The High Court has directed government to inform it as and when solid waste Management bylaws were notified by Panchayats, Municipal Councils, Municipal Committees and other local authorities in J&K and Ladakh.
Hearing Public Interest Litigations- one related to suo moto proceedings on Sonamarg environment and the other by an NGO, Environment Policy Group (EPG), seeking directions for solid waste management in J&K, a bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta asked the government to furnish the information on the bylaws within three weeks. While senior Additional Advocate General B A Dar informed the Court that the government of erstwhile J&K has notified the model Solid Waste Management bylaws, advocate Shafqat Nazir on behalf of the EPG said it was under wraps whether the rules were notified.
Pointing out that no report with regard to the notification of the bylaws by local authorities was placed before it, the Court directed the government to ensure that all details of the local authorities – Panchayats, Municipal Corporations, Councils and Committees, Development Authorities – were placed before it in a tabulation and including date of notifying the byelaws.
In its plea, the EPG is seeking directions for implementation of Solid Waste Management Rules-2016, Bio Medical Waste Rules and Swachh Bharat Mission and Fruit as well as Vegetable Waste Processing schemes of Union Agriculture Ministry. It has also sought directions for treating and disposing of bio medical waste generated across J&K in all private and government hospitals, nursing homes and clinics, in accordance with the rules.
The plea is also seeking direction for imposing a blanket ban on procurement, sale and distribution of all kinds of plastic, polythene and other non bio-degradable packing and carrying material and its import. “Make effective planning in a way which would ensure conversion of possible waste into energy, organic compost and treatment of other solid waste under the Waste Management Rules,” it pleads.
With regard to Sonamarg health resort, Additional Advocate General MA Chashoo informed the Court that for effective disposal of the waste, Sonmarg Developmet Authority has installed one MT Electromagnetic Disintegrator at Gagangir. While Chashoo said the machine was installed and is operational, the Court asked to file the latest status report in this regard by September 22.